2012 NSCS Coca-Cola 600 Pre-Race Q&A with Team Chevy Driver, Tony StewartPress Release
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed making the transition from IndyCar to NASCAR, qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 and other topics.
YOU HAD TO MAKE THE TRANSITION EARLIER IN YOUR CAREER KNOWING THAT YOU WOULDN’T BE DRIVING AT THE INDY 500 ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND HOW DO YOU THINK SHE IS DEALING WITH IT?
“I don’t know I haven’t asked her yet.”
YOU DON’T HAVE AN IDEA OF WHERE HER MIND SET IS?
“No, it’s not the end of the world. It’s putting one chapter behind you and starting another chapter. You would truly have to ask her. She is going to know a lot better than me. She’s on the other side of the garage.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING HERE?
“This is one of the few days that we just strictly work on qualifying trim. Normally, we will do some race runs and then go into qualifying trim. But, we spent the whole session in qualifying trim. Watching last week it’s going to be important to start up front and keep good track position all night.”
HOW WAS YOUR PRACTICE?
“We are struggling still. Still from last week, we will keep working on it. I’m convinced that (Steve, crew chief) Addington and these guys they will find something.”
WILL YOU TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH THIS HEAT IS GOING TO PLAY A FACTOR FOR YOU? NOT ONLY TRACK TEMPERATURE THE CARS RUNNING PRETTY FAST YOU THINK?
“Well when it is hot it slows down a little bit in all reality. I mean the cooler temperatures will run quicker. I like it when it gets hot and slick like this. Hopefully, we will have a pretty clear weekend that the track will soak up a lot of heat because overnight it doesn’t just go all the way down. If you have consecutive days where it is really nice it will keep that heat in the track and hopefully make it a little slicker than it was last week.”
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO DANICA, SHE IS RUNNING 900 MILES IN TWO DAYS?
“You have a break in between it we ran 1100 miles in one day. She did a good job at Darlington, if you can get through Darlington weekend you can get through this weekend. Those extra hundred miles here aren’t near as hard as it is at Darlington I believe.”
DANICA SAID SHE IS PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT IS GOING ON THERE THIS WEEKEND BUT SHE IS BUSY HERE. WAS IT HARD FOR YOU TO LEAVE INDYCAR AND COME HERE?
“I paid attention last she is probably doing. I made sure I watched as much practice as I could. Just like we are used to coming here on Memorial Day weekend, running on Thursday then Saturday and Sunday you get used to the month of May being busy for you. It’s not something that you just totally walk away from and lose interest in it altogether. I’m sure she has been watching practice and qualifying like we have. She will pay attention to it on race day.”
IF SHE WANTED TO DO THE DOUBLE WOULD YOU SAY ‘OKAY I WILL DO IT WITH YOU’?
“I’m not going to do it with her, but she is more than welcome to do it. I put in my time.”
HOW BIG OF A DEAL WOULD IT BE FOR ALL THE ATTENTION SHE WOULD GAIN WITH SUCH AN ATTEMPT?
“I’m sure it would be big.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT MEMORIAL DAY MEANS TO YOU AND ESPECIALLY TO YOUR TEAM?
“It’s always huge. Especially with our relationship with the U.S. Army we get to meet so many soldiers and marines across the country. To be that much closer and that much closer to what is going on you really realize what Memorial Day really means. It’s a shame that more of the people in our country can’t do a better job of getting behind our service men and women and realizing what they sacrifice so we can go do the fun things we get to do and the freedoms that we get to have. When you hear everybody complaining all the time about this and about that they have no idea what these soldiers are going through just to give us that opportunity to do it so people can sit behind computer screens and talk trash about other people and never have to face up to it. Which not saying this group just been reading a lot of stuff on the internet and it’s amazing that people have no clue what our troops really do and what freedoms they allow us to have with what they do. It kind of makes you disappointed in your country but I’m really proud of our service men and women that give us the opportunity to get to do what we do.”
DESCRIBE THE CHALLENGES OF GETTING SLOWED DOWN TO GET ONTO PIT ROAD AT DOVER.
“Yeah, it’s always been tricky, but it is kind of like Darlington is. You really have to plan ahead. It’s one of those deals that if you’ve missed it on the entry you cannot make up for it. You are diving in as hard as you can. It seems like once you’ve missed it you might as well throw it away and go around another lap because you are not going to get it back.”
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW BIG DANICA HAS BECOME IN THE ADVERTISING OF THE SPORT OF NASCAR?
“No, not at all. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a female in the sport at this level. It’s the only time that we have ever had a female that is this competitive. I think it is good. It brings a whole new demographic of people. It brings a whole new fan base to the sport that we haven’t had before. I think it is a very good thing for everybody involved.”
IS IT FAIR TO SAY STILL THAT THIS TRACK AND INDIANAPOLIS ARE THE TWO MOST TEMPERATURE SENSITIVE TRACKS? DO YOU STILL SEE IT THAT WAY?
“I don’t know if it is the top two. For sure this track is very temperature sensitive and Indy always has been. I would say it’s pretty fair. It’s ironic that their races are on the same day. It’s two places that you are always watching, especially today you are hoping that before you go out even though it is late in the evening you hope that you get a cloud that cools the track down before you get out there.”
AS THERE ARE MORE AND MORE REPAVES OF TRACKS DOES THE ABILITY TO DEAL WITH A CAR OVER A LONG RUN DOES THAT BECOME A LOST ART? THE PERCEPTION TO SOME DEGREE IS THAT THE TIRES ARE SO GOOD, THE TRACK IS SO GOOD THAT IT IS MAYBE NOT AS BIG OF A CHALLENGE AS MAYBE THIS PLACE IS?
“Anytime they repave a track it’s got a ton of grip for the first couple of races that you go there. You aren’t going to get around that. We had that repave at Phoenix and guys over the course of a long run would hold on better than others. I don’t think it’s totally a lost art but when it’s a freshly paved track you are not going to have as much difference there as you would on an older race track.”
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Source: Team Chevy, Press Release
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